SENATOR Theatre’s Kiefaber in Tell-All Interview

Tom Kiefaber return appearance to WCMB’s Tom Marr Show today at 11:30AM may prove to be more revealing than others.

Fellow blogger, Astrogirl, has published part 1 of a no-holds barred interview with the 20 year owner of The Senator Theatre.

The SENATORs Kiefaber paints a broader picture of how/why his theatre was manuevered into auction

The SENATOR's Kiefaber paints a broader picture in extensive interview: The situation is being badly bungled, and what is happening over all is a corrupt outrage with a virulent grudge at its core.

In this piece Kiefaber breaks his silence about city officials, their maneuverings, their deals that have kept “uncharacteristically mum” and details about how/why the nearly 70 year old theatre is headed to a foreclosure auction on July 22nd.

Until recently my family was in too precarious a position for me to be forthcoming and publicly discuss the situation with The Senator and what’s taking place behind the scenes. While we’re still stuck in an agonizing double-bind, The Senator’s future is also precarious, the situation is being badly bungled, and what is happening over all is a corrupt outrage with a virulent grudge at its core. It’s madness really when you examine what’s happening, who planned it and why, and the rush to get there. The bottom line is, this homie don’t play that.

With this much at stake I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s now or never, so it’s time to speak up and assess the situation from our perspective. For years the prudent advice I’ve received has indicated that if I ever really “go there” and publicly relate what’s really gone on between me and a small group of these characters from my perspective that I would surely lose ownership of The Senator in the process. Well, that’s no longer an issue at this juncture. What’s at stake now is not my ownership of The Senator, because that should change. The critical issue is will The Senator and its future ownership entity be not-for-profit and oriented towards the arts, education and the extended community, or from a commercial development perspective. That crucial difference is not well understood, and it should be, because there’s so much at stake for all concerned at this fork in the road.

Get yourself a nice beverage, sit back and read part 1 of this extensive interview for yourself.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m pretty horrified at what I read here. I don’t blame Bill Henry for not wanting to meet with “the community” face-to-face, it sounds like no matter what he says, you twist it around to suit your agenda. Councilman Henry couldn’t come to the meeting due to a prior commitment, by the time he is able to make it the meeting is over, and he goes out to Zen West with some people who were at the meeting to hear what happened. Through Tom Kiefaber’s propaganda-lens, this becomes “ducking the town hall meeting” and “a celebration with the Mayor’s office insiders at Zen West”.

    If I were Councilman Henry, I wouldn’t want to meet with you either. At least this website had the decency to post Mr. Henry’s written response, something that Kiefaber himself and “Astrogirl” are apparently unwilling to do, while printing Kiefaber’s 20-page interview. (or I should say, 20 pages in part 1…)

    Before you start slandering me as well, let me just say that I love the Senator, I’ve seen plenty of movies there over the years, and donated money the last time Tom Kiefaber said the Senator was in dire financial straits. So don’t tell me that I’m not a member of “the community”.

  2. Stu,
    I’m pretty horrified as well, but not for the same reasons. As someone who has made a point to follow this, attend the public meetings and talk to many different people about their take on all this, I have to say if nothing else this piece turns the tables.

    I’ve heard a lot of folks blame the owner for ruining the theatre’s future, but when asked why all I ever got was “because he’s a poor businessman” and the media’s love of the “It’s all Tom Kiefaber’s fault” sound byte has been heard so many times people take it as fact. But they’ve never tried to run a movie theater, much less one that had to stand alone while Belvedere Square sat empty for over a decade. And no business is safe from the recent economic problems. If nothing else, I’m interested in this, because I want to finally know the whole story from the owner’s side rather than the 15 second clips from the TV or the chosen quotes from The Sun…

    Anyway, while the councilman probably believes he is saving the theatre, there are just too many questions that have gone unanswered by him and other city officials. Maybe I don’t understand the life of an electe official enough, but I would think that if a MD State official called a meeting in which I was expected to attend – that in involved a major anchor business in my district – with my constituents attending, I with a “few days notice” I could have made amendments to my busy schedule to attend.

    What has been asked for is transparency – Even State Senator Joan Carter Conway said (at that missed meeting) she didn’t understand what is going on with the city’s moves, because they prevent the city from getting the “maximum dollars” for the property.

    But, even beyond that, consider a recent quote by the councilman: “We know there are people who are interested in responding to an RFP who are not necessarily interested in bidding on it.”
    http://www.preservationnation.org/magazine/2009/todays-news/senator-theatre-to-be.html

    I’m reminded of a Sun article (last March, I believe) in which Buzz Cusack (Charles Theatre – which was given $$$ by Bob Embry’s Abell Foundation years ago for expansion – Same Bob Embry who is now part of the city’s CHAP group that ruined negotiations with 2 potential buyers) and David Cordish (“the king of urban makeovers”) both expressed interest in the property.

    But if you ask who the people interested in the RFP are, you can’t get an answer… I’m sorry, but it reeks of dealings like we’ve seen recently on the news regarding the mayor, her former boyfriend developer and another city council person.

    I’m sorry, but now more than ever our elected officials need to be held accountable (municipal – federal), ESPECIALLY if we feel we’re not getting the full story – and/or, as I’ve come to understand in Councilman Henry’s case, there’s a tendancy to propose legislation he (or the YRP leadership) _thinks_ is in the community’s best interest, but lets a large portion of his constituents find out later when it’s reported by the press.

    In the end, yes, this is all about saving the theatre, but if the councilman or other officials have this great plan to do so, why not just tell us? They all want to say it’s a great place, should not be lost & everything will turn out fine, but HAVE NOT told us how they can be SO SURE that will come to pass.


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